With the right planning, Detroit’s vast empty space could be an asset

August 24, 2015

In Detroit we have a real chance to do things with our land that no other major city in the world has ever done. From  growing food  and  producing solar power to planting trees and improving public health, Detroit’s 23 square miles  of vacant land  offers a future full of possibilities.

That was the mood and topic of discussion at the latest “Ideas for Innovation” event hosted by Detroit Future City. Some excellent questions arose from this community conversation that are worth continued consideration as we examine how best to transform  Detroit’s vacant land into an open space amenity. Some include:

  • If we come up with plans and develop the open spaces in our neighborhoods, how do we protect them from future development?
  • Who’s responsible for maintaining these spaces in the long-term?
  • How will all of these projects interconnect?

These questions all point to the need for a citywide master plan and open space plan that offer a shared vision for the future, as well as room for communities and neighborhoods to plan within it.

This doesn’t mean we have to start from scratch, however. As the Detroit Future City event showed, there are plenty of projects already underway and plenty of people who have been working hard on land use issues in Detroit for years.

With the right planning, Detroit’s vast empty space could be an asset
Guy Williams. August 24, 2015. The Detroit News.